Discovering the Advent Season

Discovering the Advent Season

Every year, I plan on buying a traditional Advent calendar to help my family get ready for Christmas.  I like the idea of daily Advent readings that help build anticipation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.  Unfortunately, I’m usually busy and forget to buy the calendar until after Advent has already started.  There is so much going on at Thanksgiving, and then the parties start, and before you know it, Christmas is upon us.  The calendar itself is not the most important thing; it’s about what celebrating Advent does for us during a very busy time of the year.

Advent is the season that starts four Sundays before Christmas.  For hundreds of years, Christians have used this season to remember the coming of Christ, and to prepare for Christmas.  It’s more than just a piece of history, though.  So, why do we celebrate Advent?  Celebrating the Advent season can help us today to follow Christ more faithfully in at least three ways.

Advent helps us focus on Jesus.

We’ve all heard the clichés like “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “Let’s keep Christ in Christmas.”  Even though they are clichés, they contain nuggets of truth.  One of the reasons that they exist is that it is just so easy to let all of the activities, and shopping, and parties overwhelm our focus on Jesus.  Celebrating Advent gives us daily and weekly reminders through Scripture about who Christ is and what He did for us when He came to earth.

Advent helps us honor Jesus.

The word “Advent” means the arrival of someone or something important.  When an important event like a graduation or wedding is coming, we work hard to make sure everything is perfect.  When an important person is coming to visit, we work hard to properly prepare for them so that they will know they are valuable to us.  We plan the menu and the decorations; we clean the house and edge the lawn.  We don’t just wait until the last minute and throw something together.  Similarly, celebrating Advent helps us give Jesus the proper attention and focus He deserves.  By focusing on Him throughout this season, and not just on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we honor Him more faithfully.

Advent helps us remember Jesus is coming again.

Advent is not only a celebration of Christ’s first coming as a baby; it is also a reminder of Jesus’ return that is yet to come.  Just as God’s people awaited the first coming of the Messiah, His people now await the return of our Savior.  The four weeks of Advent remind us of both of these comings.  In weeks one and two, the Scripture readings look forward to His second coming and remind us of the importance of being prepared for His return.  Weeks three and four look backward and help us remember the excitement and expectation that the hope of the Messiah brought to the ancient Jews.  It has always been important for God’s people to remember that God is up to something, and that we need to live in expectation of what He will do when He comes again.

In our world, there are so many things that can occupy our attention.  The Christmas season is one of the most exciting times of the year, but it is also one of the most distracting seasons of the year.  Even for those who want to keep focused on Jesus, it is difficult to do so.  By celebrating Advent, we acknowledge that celebrating Jesus is more than one evening and the following day.  The ‘how’ to celebrate Advent isn’t as important as the connection you make with Him, so create special traditions as a family and grow in Him together.  Let us be a people who acknowledge God’s great love and generosity for his people every day this Advent season.

Devotional credit: Dayspring.com

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Simple Advent Activities for Your Family

Simple Advent Activities for Your Family

I often think of the crazy holiday season countdown as a great big package we tear into (earlier and earlier!) every year. It’s bright and flashy, but we don’t find a whole lot at the heart of it.

And then there’s Advent.

Advent is like a small and carefully-wrapped gift that invites us to open it slowly, day-by-day, to discover new treasures inside each year. It’s the quiet, magnificent story unfolding beneath all the shopping and celebrating. It’s the real journey that will still be beautiful and true when everything else passes away.

This is the story I want my children to be swept up in.

They love anticipation and discovery; They love creating and celebrating.

I want to help them pour that God-given energy and excitement into the stuff that truly matters.

If you’re looking for some simple, meaningful ways to celebrate a special Advent season this year, read on. Find a few easy Advent activities that feel right for your family, and give them your personal touch! Starting your own Advent traditions is a wonderful way to celebrate the marvel of the season.

Start simple.

Hang a traditional Advent calendar that includes Scripture near a busy place in your home. Let children take turns opening each day, and spend a few moments talking about the message that’s revealed. Or place a small dry erase board orchalkboard in the kitchen to keep track of how many days until Jesus’ birthday.  As simple as it seems, even taking a few moments each day to shift our focus toward the One we’re truly celebrating can make a big difference.

Pray each day.

Have the kids decorate a prayer jar, box or basket. (Check out our Bible journaling craft supplies for some great inspiration!) Cut 24 small slips of paper and sit down together to fill them out with names, situations and even parts of the world you want to pray for. Set it in the middle of the dinner table or living room, and have a child draw one out each day of Advent as your family gathers to pray.

Shine your light.

Set out an Advent Wreath, and take a moment to light one of the candles each Sunday during Advent.  Talk about what it might look like to shine God’s light in the coming week.

Then consider putting His love into action with a weekly family outing to bless someone in need. It could be a nursing home visit, flower delivery, or a grocery store run for a homebound neighbor. Make a reverse advent calendar collection box and add one new item each day or week to donate to a food pantry or other organization. Get the kids involved and see what creative ideas they come up with!

Have some fun.

Our family doesn’t have the magical plush toy that shows up in some houses at the holidays, but we do love to have fun with our Shepherd on the Search. We hide him around the house each day of Advent, and he makes his way to the manger on Christmas Eve.

Create your own advent calendar countdown.

Make an advent calendar together for a personalized way to count down. Gather some supplies and give the kids a few hours one afternoon to create their version of a Christ-centered Christmas countdown. There are no rules; it can be as simple as stickers on paper, or elaborate as a colorful clay sculpture. Talk with them about how we each have a special journey to take, and theirs is unlike anyone else’s. Remind them how much God delights in walking with us every step of the way. Allow their creativity to guide you through the Advent season as you draw inspiration from their homemade advent countdown.

Go all-inclusive.

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive guide for the season, there are some wonderful advent devotionals that include Scripture, devotions and activities for your family to share. One of my favorite Advent books is Ann Voskamp’s “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.”

No matter what, remember that every little step we take toward the heart of this beautiful season matters: every meaningful conversation we share, every prayer prayed together, every act of kindness that shines His light. Don’t let the celebration of Advent become another burdensome thing to check off a holiday to-do list. Pray about your plans; do what’s right for your family in this season of life, and enjoy the journey of a Christ-centered Advent celebration together!

Devotional credit: Dayspring.com

Re-purposing Boxes with Graphic 45…

Re-purposing Boxes with Graphic 45…

Hello Dear Friends,

I had allot of fun re-purposing some boxes with the gorgeous Mother Goose and By the Sea paper pads by Graphic 45. I absolutely LOVE their paper and delight in using it in my various projects!! 🙂

I hope these 3 boxes and 1 mini album encourage you today!!

Have a wonderful day,

k

Graphic 45 Mother Goose: Mary Had A Little Lamb Box and Humpty Dumpty Heart Box

 

Graphic 45 By the Sea: Box and Mini Album Insert

 

Valentine/Anniversary Cards…

Valentine/Anniversary Cards…

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Hello Friends,

Here are a few of my quick and easy cards of love for my sweet family. Some easy peasy cards made from the bits and pieces of various paper pads. I also used a piece of advertisement on a fun card for my Sweet Husband. 🙂 They were all received with big smiles!!! How wonderful to take a moment to make something so simple and then to see each bring such joy to each recipient!! Something handmade is always a treasure for sure!! 🙂

I encourage you to go make a treasure for those you love today,

k

A card for my Sweet Husband for our Anniversary.

A fun card for my Sweet Husband.

And now a card for one of our children.

 One more sweet card for our children.

And finally a sweet little card for one of our children.

Fun File Folder Junk Journal Process…

Fun File Folder Junk Journal Process…

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Hello Dear Friends,

I have been traveling with my husband for his work. But there is always time for a project or two!! I literally took one whole suitcase of projects to work on. I am always more ambitious than time allows!! 😉

Here’s a quick peak at my drafting table ready to get started….

getting ready to work drafting table getting ready to work drafting table tea

OK, yes…I am a two fist-ed tea and coffee drinker!! 😉 Gotta have my beverages!!! I LOVE a hot cup of coffee and some iced green tea!! And I LOVE this little beach clip cup holder I found at Walmart. It is great to hold my tea on the side of my drafting table. It’s great…no water sweating on my work surface!! 🙂 And very, very affordable…thanks Walmart!! 😉

Here’s some fun File Folder Junk Journals that I will be listing in my Etsy shop, posting on my YouTube Channel and my Instagram later this week. Please be sure to drop back by and take a look see!! 😉

Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/KwithJDesigns 

YouTube channel: JosephinesDesigns.com or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNF08CE8fU6EsXPvN3mzVpw/videos

Instagram: https://instagram.com/josephinesdesignscom

Many thanks to all the sweet ladies on YouTube and many blogs sharing their creations of Junk Journals that have helped me develop mine. 🙂 Such a wonderful online community of crafters!!

Here’s how I make these fun File Folder Junk Journals:

Each has 2-3 signatures, a clip and a band with decorating/journaling pages for each journal.

finished fild folder junk journals 3

Here’s some of the process:

file folders selection 3 file folder junk journal waxed twine

First I select the materials I will use. File folders, waxed twine, pages for the signatures, beads, bands, etc.

Next I measure, check and recheck. Then score and attach the folds.

file folder junk journal 4

Next I measure and then punch my holes for the folder to hold my signatures. I LOVE this simple awl…it always does the trick on punching paper/cardstock, easy peasy.

file folder junk journal punch 1

I then begin to build the signatures with all kinds of fun finds!! This week I was gathering fun inserts from the Korean market!! And I always try to include a current calendar in each one. I LOVE the whimsy of junk journals!! 🙂

files for junk journals1  junk journal insides 3

Junk Jounal insides  junk journals insides 2

After I build 2-3 signatures for each journal, I then begin accessorizing! I also include a clear business card slot in each one. 🙂

 junk journal clips Michaels  junk journal insides business card holder

Finally I add my add my band and beads. I love to add a trinket to the band to help close it. And I love the beads on the spine as well. The opportunities are endless with all the clips, markers, etc.!!

file folder chevron junk journal completed

Now this fun File Folder Junk Journal is ready for it’s newest recording of the owner’s next FUN adventure!! 🙂

Have a wonderful week,

k

Holiday Gift Memory Albums

Holiday Gift Memory Albums

  

Hello Friends,

A note to share with you some of the Fall options.

I will be offering Photo/Memory Album making again this Fall. I know so many love scrapbook or photo albums but don’t have the time to make them for your family and friends…or know where to start. I have taught and made albums for over 20 years. I love being our family’s historian of special events!! And I love teaching and making albums for others to preserve their wonderful memories beautifully gathered in lovely albums to keep, share or give as priceless gifts of love to family and friends!!

 So with all the fun gift giving season coming soon, I have been asked to come back and offer my handmade scrapbook/photo album making services.

I supply the album, embellishments, specialty papers, page protectors and you supply your beautiful pictures and memorabilia!! All pages and supplies are photo safe/acid free. I also page protect each page for years and years of use and enjoyment.

Just contact me and we can determine the current wait time (the earlier the better…before the holiday rush). It usually takes me 2 weeks once all items have been received plus shipping time. I send all by priority mail.

Please see the details, prices and feel free to contact me with any questions.

Have a wonderful week in the Lord,

k

Basic Albums offered:

I do have other special albums available upon request.

12″ x 12″ Black post bound album

(Usually used for family albums, wedding albums, graduation albums, travel album or special events.)

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12″ x 12″ Blue and White  or Pink and White Striped post bound album

(Usually used for baby albums.)

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12″ x 12″ Black and Cream Damask post bound album

(Usually used for wedding albums, family albums, travel album or special events.)

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I offer two basic album created just for you or your loved one. You choose from one of the covers above and then choose the amount of pages needed below.

1)14 page album: Title page, 12 pages (1 page per month of the year) and special event page or summary page

This beautiful post bound album runs $100 with beautifully decorated pages with specialty pages, embellishments and your pictures.

2) 26 page album: Title page, 24 pages (2 pages per month of the year) and special event page or summary page

This beautiful post bound album runs $160 with beautifully decorated pages with specialty pages, embellishments and your pictures.

(All orders also have a shipping charge. I send all orders by priority mail unless over night mail is requested.  I charge exactly what the USPS charges for shipping…not a penny more.)

What do you do?

Contact me to see about schedule, choice of albums and color/theme for specialty papers and embellishments.

You choose 4-6 pictures per page/month/event, place each set of pictures in an identified by event or month plastic zip bag. Place all 12-14 zip bags in a video/cd USPS Priority postal box and mail all to me.

Even special memorabilia can be sent in labeled zip bags (separate from the pictures) to be added to each page. If memorabilia is being sent, please choose a larger postal box and add bubble wrap to protect your picture baggies as well as your precious memorabilia.

If there is a special request outside of these standard albums…please contact me at

josephinesdesigns.com@gmail.com or message me via the blog.

I take all payments through paypal or money order.

I will gladly work with you to celebrate your memory blessings.

k with Josephine’s Designs

PS- I will be posting some lovely handmade smaller fun albums for sale soon on the blog and on Etsy. All you have to do is add the pictures, memorabilia and journal. Voila!! A beautiful and special album that you can share all your beautiful blessings or give a lovely gift to your family and friends…FUN!

Project Life Is At Stampin’ Up!!

Project Life Is At Stampin’ Up!!

Hello Friends,

Stampin’ Up and Becky Higgins have joined together to bring Project Life to Stampin’ Up!! Woo Hoo!! I have recently gotten started in PL. I just love this easy peasy beautiful scrapbooking system!!! I taught scrapbooking for years and when I discovered this new style…well FUN!!!

I was purchasing at Hobby Lobby (a store I just love for their wonderful Christian stand!!) and I noticed everything was clearanced!! I ask the check out girl and she said they were discontinuing the line!! Well…I won’t lie…I LOVED the sale. I was truly heartbroken I couldn’t buy my Project Life at Hobby Lobby.

Now I spent quite allot of time checking into all the lines of this type of scrapbooking. And after a good deal of research…I really LOVE Becky Higgins line the best.  How wonderful she will partner with Stampin’ Up!!

Enjoy this introductory video and keep checking back in. The first release will come in May. Then the full line will come with the new catalog in June!! Woo Hoo!!!

Have a wonderful week…and happy papercrafting,

k